Former 49ers CB, return specialist Jimmy Williams dies at 43

Jimmy Williams
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Former 49ers cornerback and return specialist Jimmy Williams has died, the team announced Friday.

Williams, who played for the 49ers from 2001-2004, was 43 years old.

After attending Vanderbilt College, Williams was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round of 2001 NFL Draft (No. 196 overall). The defensive back never played in Buffalo, instead signing with the 49ers where he played for four seasons. 

Before retiring from the NFL, Williams spent two years with the Seattle Seahawks and was a team captain during the club’s Super Bowl XL campaign in 2005, which ended in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Williams appeared in 80 games over his six year career in the NFL, seven as a starter, registering 151 tackles -- 124 solo, and three interceptions. 

In 2002, the special teams standout led the NFL with an average of 16.8 yards per punt return and in Week 13, he was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. In that 31-27 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Williams returned one punt for 52 yards and two kickoffs for an average of 21 yards per return. 

Following his NFL career, Williams returned to his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., where he became involved in his high school alma mater’s football program in 2011. Williams held the position of defensive coordinator and Assistant Athletic Director at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge since 2011, where he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2006. 

Williams is survived by his wife Chandra and their son, Ace.